Windows Phone 7 vs. Android



I’m a big supporter of what Microsoft is about right now. I think Google makes some awesome products but they’re slowly transitioning into a 90’s era Microsoft-ish juggernaut (evil) and I haven’t been too fond of the Cult of Mac since elementary school. Microsoft has had its issues, but they seem to finally be giving up on that “F*** you, we’re Microsoft!” attitude that’s left them behind the curve in recent years – giving us the Xbox 360, Windows 7, and the subject of this post, Windows Phone 7.

I’ve been holding off on getting a new phone for ages. My old phone had some great features like making calls and being pretty small, so I held on to it until a few weeks ago when my send button kind of broke and the first Windows Phone 7 came to Verizon in the same day. I’d been hearing a lot of interesting buzz, so I went out and picked one up.

Three days later, I traded it in for a Droid X2.

WP7: Intuitive system, simple design, and so damn pretty

It’s not that the Windows Phone was bad. On the contrary, I think it is the best phone of this generation. I’ve played with plenty of iPhones and ‘Droids, and three days was definitely enough time to get a sense of what this OS was about. It’s snappy and intuitive. I felt more comfortable in five minutes than I feel after three weeks with my Android phone. If you touch something, you already know what’s going to happen, because it’s exactly what you would expect. You can get to the camera without unlocking the phone, and it takes pictures quickly. The home screen displays information you need to know without being cluttered. The start screen has moving icons, and it looks great! So what was the problem? It just didn’t DO much.

Maybe that’s not fair. I guess after six months of playing with my girlfriend’s Android I’ve come to expect a computer that fits into my pocket. That’s certainly what my Droid is. I can play freaking PlayStation games on it! Windows phone certainly can’t do that. WP7 does have Xbox Live integration, so I had a great time imagining myself earning achievements on the go until I realized that not only did barely any games support achievements but that most of the games were ports I could get for cheaper on another platform or a better version of on my Xbox. I also realized that all I really want to do on my short commute is a crossword puzzle, for which there is a great free app on Android and nothing at all on WP7.

This is my Android background. Whatever, it’s awesome.

But you know what the Windows Phone is good at? Being a phone. It works. It’s easy to use. It’s got integration with everything I threw at it. This is a modern phone for people who don’t know or care what “apps” are. It’s got a great address book, a nice calendar, and all the other basic things you need to organize your life.

It doesn’t have the breadth of functionality and customization that Android does, and ultimately that’s what I was looking for in a phone. Still, even when I’m doing a crossword or playing Dominion against computer opponents, I sometimes miss the beautiful simplicity of the Windows Phone interface.

It’ll be interesting to see how Windows 8 turns out too.

7/1/2011 Edit: I don’t talk much about Android in this post besides the fact that it is like having an awesome mini-computer in my pocket. I’ll update sometime this weekend with a more informative post about why I’m loving my Droid X2 and some of the apps I find essential.